Investigation of (Bi,Pb)2212 crystals : observation of modulation-free phase
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Physica: C: superconductivity. - Amsterdam
, p. 270-272
University of Antwerp
We report the complete disappearance of the structural modulation in heavily lead-doped Bi2-xPbxSr2CaCu2O8+delta crystals observed by transmission electron microscopy. Crystals with a nominal lead content of x = 0.8, corresponding to an effective lead content of x = 0.39, yield the non-modulated phase. The superconducting properties of this modulation-free phase (beta phase) have been studied and compared to those of undoped crystals displaying the modulated phase (alpha phase). Magnetisation measurements reveal that the irreversibility field H-irr(T) and relaxation rates are strongly improved within the beta phase. Measurements of the lower critical field, H-cl, show that the anisotropy factor, E, is considerably reduced in the modulation-free crystals. This is the signature of stronger coupling between CuO2 layers which in turn deeply influences the effectiveness of the pinning. These measurements explain the enhanced pinning properties in moderately Pb-doped crystals in which the a phase and P phase coexist. The enhanced pinning is not only due to the alpha/beta interfaces, which act as effective pinning centers: the emergence of modulation-free domains, characterized by a strongly reduced anisotropy, also significantly contribute to this effect. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.